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A similar situation arises under article 9, which recognizes the right of the parties to request a court for interim measures of protection “before or during arbitral proceedings”. A number of jurisdictions found it appropriate to list the details and types of interim measures that may be requested. 10

One area where enacting States have often elaborated on the provisions contained in the UNCITRAL Model Arbitration Law relates to the application for setting aside an arbitral award. Some States have attempted to define the notion of “public policy” as a grounds for avoiding an arbitral award, other. A few countries have even added additional ground for setting aside an award.

3. Assessment

Despite the adjustments and adaptations made by various enacting jurisdictions, it can be said that there is a high degree of substantive uniformity in the implementation of the UNCITRAL Model Arbitration Law. The success of this Model Law can be explained by a number of reasons. The first of them is timing. The increasing adherence to the New York Convention and the spreading influence of the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules had encouraged the international arbitration community to look for ways to reduce the remaining obstacles to the effective use of arbitration in international commercial disputes. But timing is not everything. The drafters of the UNCITRAL Model Arbitration Law were also sensitive to what could and what could not be done by way of unifying the law of arbitration. Arbitration practitioners in enacting jurisdictions did also their part by raising awareness among policy makers and judicial authorities as to what are the essential needs of a functioning system of commercial arbitrations. This led to a growing acceptance of some fundamental features of modern international arbitration, such as respect for party autonomy, freedom to agree on the conduct of arbitration proceedings, competence of arbitral tribunals to decide on their own jurisdiction, judicial support to arbitration coupled with restraint from undue interference.


There are various reasons why countries use UNCITRAL model laws as a basis for the development of domestic legislation. Some countries may adopt a model law because its legal community and policy makers regard it as a good step to further the unification of the law in the relevant area. For a number of other countries, UNCITRAL model laws serve as convenient first drafts of modern statutes, with or without regard for the legal harmonization argument. For other States, adoption of an UNCITRAL model law may be seen as an important factor in publicizing to the international legal community – which knows these texts and usually trusts them – the desirability of doing business in that country. Or, States may simply conclude that, from a substantive point of view, the solutions recommended in a given model law will effectively improve the domestic environment for the types of transactions covered by it.

Whatever the reason is, the decision to adopt a model law is always voluntary and in no way forced upon States. This is an important point, as it usually means that those in charge of drafting domestic legislation to enact a model law will be more personally involved in the process and may become instrumental in raising knowledge about the new law. This level of engagement may be very useful for the success of legal harmonization, and, more generally, of any law reform effort.

The drafting style of an UNCITRAL model law, as with of all legal texts adopted at international level, will be different, sometimes radically different, from the style of drafting in some countries. The importance of that fact in the politics of adoption of a new law will depend in part on the strength of the local drafting tradition. The entire law may be resisted by lawyers, legislative draftsmen, professors of law and ministry officials simply because the law does not look the way their laws look. The temptation to improve on the drafting of the text is

10 E.g. Hungary, India, New Zealand and Zimbabwe; within the United Kingdom, in Scotland; within the United States, California, Oregon, Texas.

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